An elephant in the room? Boy, that’s news to me.
What in the world would that be doing in my living room?
Why would there be something like that in my life?
And if it is there, why am I not addressing it?
The elephant in the room is an American phrase with murky origins, the first reference being in 1935 to mean something obvious and incongruous. In the 1950s, the elephant in the room came to mean what it means today, something enormous that people choose to ignore because it is uncomfortable to deal with.
I am sure this is a mistake.
Someone else must have ordered the elephant and it was delivered by mistake to my house. I am sure that is the case. Even depression wouldn’t stoop so low as to have me deal with a pachyderm. I am sure it doesn’t have anything to do with me.
And even if it does, I am not ready to deal with it.
Having just gotten out of the hospital a few months ago, I am busy facing depression, understanding my relationship with it, and keeping it in plain sight so I can know what it is up to. I don’t have time to deal with a new issue, even if it might be important to my long-term self-care.
Facing relationships is new to me.
If there is an elephant around, it might be related to someone I know. It might be related to someone who is a support for me, but I let down. I let depression cause me to be secretive, to make choices that did not hold up to scrutiny, and to damage relationships through inattention and neglect.
Knowing what to do about these relationships will help me finalize a major piece of my life going forward.
What will my life look like? That is what I am trying to piece together. And I feel I can see much of it starting to be more real, more tangible, more concrete and solid. I have made it a point, with the help of intermittent reminding by one of my main supporters, to go slow, to not rush into things, to open them up to scrutiny and to question my ideas to make sure they are valid.
This whole idea of how to move forward with certain people is gnawing at me.
And I am not facing it. I am scooting around the edges of the room to avoid touching it in any fashion. I have faced so many things in the past few months and have made real progress. If you read some of my earlier entries, they are scary even for me to read. The lack of hope, of seeing a way forward was intensely real.
So, after 43 years of not facing things, what’s another month of not looking at the elephant?
I know I will be facing this at some point. And I know it will not be easy, nor will it be straight-forward. Depression will work its way into the situation in some form or another and try to cloud the real issues I must face.
Depression has most likely already been doing that, which is one major reason why I have not faced this. Or I am just a chicken-s^*t for not having the courage to face how my actions have impacted the people I love.
In fact, when I had my therapy appointment earlier this week, I had written down several questions to ask about the elephant.
But when I got into my therapists office, I talked about what I had learned at the SMART Conference and avoided the elephant. It was like I had brought it along and it was somehow squeezed into the room with us. However, since my therapist did not know about the elephant, the analogy is not very accurate.
I was keeping a secret.
A secret that depression is hoping I will carry for a long, long time. Doing this gives depression a small amount of control and I am sure makes it feel good. I hope it gets some joy out of it because carrying this around makes me feel like s%@t. Or whatever you can think of that is worse than that.
It is eating me up at a time when I am in full-fledged recovery.
Or maybe because it is eating me up, my recovery is not as real as I would like to think it is. How can I be recovering when I have not faced one of the crucial concerns about my future? I am worried about what my future looks like and who will be in it.
I sure as hell don’t want an elephant in my future. (Not that I do not love and support animals and animal habitats.)
But right now, I must make sure I leave enough room for the elephant. I am feeding it with my mental capital, giving it my energy, time, and attention. It is using up resources that I could be spending on my own self-care. After all, in the end, I must put my own oxygen mask on first, before helping those around me. And you know where this story could go if I don’t do it.
Talking smack to myself tonight is not moving me towards having the conversations I am dreading.
Having these conversations is inevitable. Living with the elephant in the room is insufferable. I know that I need to put on my big boy pants and just say what I need to say. Once it is out in the open, I won’t have to walk around the elephant. This will make room for the conversations that will need to follow.
Is there an elephant in your room?